Peanut Butter and Jelly Make the Best Sandwiches: Some Reflections on Friendship

Peanut Butter and Jelly Together Make the Best Sandwiches.

Let me begin by saying that this blog has nothing to do with a PB & J; although just reading the title is making me a bit hungry.  (Does it come with chips and a chocolate milk?)  This blog is about something more satisfying.  Something tastier.  Something nourishing.  It’s about friendship.

My long-time friend Stark Howell, an acclaimed Animation Director and Storyboard Artist and I recently worked on a music video project for my songs, “Ride To Find The Cure” and “AIDS Free World,” both from my CIM Records CD, “Songs For An AIDS Free World.”

So, why would I title this blog as I did?  Good question.  Stark and I have been friends since early 1976, our senior year in high school.  We both surfed.  We both had gas money to get to and from the beach from Burbank.  We both had blue eyes.  We were both shy.  We both had two brothers (although I had the three sister, too).  That’s about all we had in common then.   But it worked then as it still works today.
On a clear and sunny Saturday morning, we packed up our gear at Stark’s house in Valencia and began our drive north to the Cow Palace in Daly City, which is just south of San Francisco, for the kick-off if the AIDS Life Cycle/2012.  I completed the ride on bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2007 and I must say, it is a long bike ride spanning seven days.  In 2007, I had also recorded and released a four song CD inspired by the previous AIDS Life Cycle events.  Now, Stark and I decided to film the videos, so we packed up my Scion Xb and headed north to the Bay Area.

The drive north was pleasant.  Through our hours of conversation, we enjoyed the coast from Ventura to Gaviota.  We were amazed with all of the vineyards planted in the Salinas Valley.  We ate Subway sandwiches in King City and saw the Artichoke Capital of the World.  We “inch-wormed” our way through the Santa Cruz traffic until we found ourselves at the old cemetery that would be the set for our first shoot.  We had a great time setting up the shots and getting the footage we needed in the naturally lit setting.

On Sunday we filmed the dedicated and courageous cyclists as they rode the first leg of the seven-day ride from Daly City to Santa Cruz.  We had a blast filming the riders as they worked their way to their destination.  After Santa Cruz, we filled sand bags in Sand City.  We lunched in Monterey.  We had dinner at this small but delicious taco stand in Santa Paula.  I dropped Stark off at his home and then drove the ninety-plus miles back to my home in Capistrano Beach.  What a weekend!  What fun!  What a friend

What a great friend!

Today, Stark and I are polar opposites in most aspects of our lives.  I’ve lost the gorgeous brown hair of my youth and I’m now bald.  His full head of thick, classic blond hair is still there, but now gray.  I choose to ride the waves knee boarding and he’s a soulful stand-up surfer.  I am a Democrat.  He is a Republican.  I am socially liberal and he is very conservative.  I am a questioning Roman Catholic.  He is an Evangelical Christian.  We both have two daughters but he also has four boys.  I live at the beach.  He lives inland.  My passion is surfing and music.  His is surfing and film.  It goes on and on.

So why is our friendship so strong?  Why has our friendship aged well over the years?  Why have we been able to adapt so well to each other, despite our contrary natures?

Why?  How?  The answer is simple.  Love.

It is amazing how love, even through a friendship like ours, can strengthen and grow over time.  I love Stark.  I love our history.  I love our future together as middle-aged men facing our sixties.  I love the way we still get excited about surfing good waves.  I love the way we both adore our wives and children.  I love the way we always seem to have different opinions about everything.  I love that we laugh at the same things.  I love the way we can complete each other’s thoughts.  But more than everything, I love the way we are the same – two surfers from Burbank.

In the movie “Forrest Gump,” Forrest describes his relationship with Jenny as the two of them being like “…peas and carrots.”

Stark and I?  Well, we are the peanut butter and jelly to this oh, so perfect sandwich.

So think about this…

·      Whom have you shared many years of friendship with?

·      What makes your friendship unique and special?

·      How have your differences, if any, worked to your advantage through your years of friendship?

Peace Always!


Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.


  1. Shayna Mallik says:

    Wow what a story of life long friends. Thank you for sharing!!! I think it is awesome that even though you have differences and might believe in different things you both are still great friends who can except the challenges each one brings to the table. I have friends I have known for years and know I will always be their friends and continue to grow and change with them. Once again thank you for sharing your life long friendship.

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